The Impressionists and the Art of the Past
Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA June 19-September 21, 2008
The term "Impressionism" can be traced to a Claude Monet painting from late 19th-century France entitled Impression, Sunrise (1872). The name loosely encompasses a style developed by artists of that time who, while depicting modern life, sought to capture moments of spontaneity, while paying special attention to elements of light.
Mary Cassatt, The Family (1893), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jun 19-Sep 21]
Impressionist artists rejected traditional styles of painting in favour of a more loose, innovative approach to colour and brushwork. Inspiring Impressionism presents a new perspective on the popular movement in art history. It examines the classical roots in the work of those who were considered radical in their time, and provides insight linking artists working in the Impressionist style with the Old Masters who preceded them. The exhibit includes work from over 40 different museum collections. Among them are pieces by Monet, Manet, Cézanne, Renoir and Dégas juxtaposed with works by Goya, Titian, Rubens, Fragonard and Velázquez.
To show the impact made on Impressionist artists by their European predecessors, examples from 16th century Renaissance art, 17th and 18th century Dutch and Spanish styles, and 18th century French Rococo are represented. Works that have been paired to show such relationships include Mary Cassatt's The Family (1893) and Bernardino Luini's Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John (ca. 1515-20); and Cassatt's Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading (1876) and Fragonard's A Young Girl Reading (circa 1776).
The Seattle Art Museum is the last venue for this nationally touring exhibit which includes many works that have never before been seen in the United States.